Category Archives: combat sports

#MPOWERment Playlist #48

Again, for those who have followed my blog on the other site in the past, these #MPOWERment playlists are like the artist formerly known as Prince in that these are playlists formerly known as Melisscious’ Delicious Discography 😉 As per usual, you have your warmup and cooldown jams.

Plug in or Play it Loud and Go Get it!

1. Punjabi MC feat Jay Z and Pharrell – Beware of the Boyz

2. Die Mannequin – Sucker Punch

3. Fito Blanko feat Fat Joe and Sophia Del Carmen – Take Over

4. Calvin Harris and R3Hab – Burnin

5. Jessie J feat 2 Chainz – Burnin’ Up

6. Travis Barker feat Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Yelawolf & Twista – Let’s Go

7. Fergie – A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody

8. Showtek – We Like to Party

9. Shaggy Mohambi Faydee Costi – Habibi

10. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Ass to Grass Squats, Hybrid Half Squats and You

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In terms of many things, on a grand scheme level, there are not necessarily any rights or wrongs, just different approaches. This is within reason of course, but for the most part it stands to be pretty legit. I have decided to use the squat as a way to highlight this today. My goal is to help you consider if what’s hot right now is what works for YOU and your goals in the safest, most effective, time-efficient manner.

Many might also tell you that to do any type of squat that doesn’t break parallel is a waste, a joke. No, no that is not true. In fact, these can actually help you progress, depending on what your goals are. The important thing to know though, is that they are not the ONLY way you should be squatting or the only thing you should be doing. On either end of the spectrum of ATG or half squats, vary things over time for ultimate progress.

The trend of ass-to-the-grass squats quickly came and to be honest seems to already be fizzling out, or at least balancing out. The case for this is probably because most people are not equipped for that and have either gotten injured or not made progress as quickly as they would with other methods. That doesn’t mean that type of squat is wrong, it just means that for some it may not be right 😉

Yes, it is cool and impressive to be able to do that under high loads if your greater trochanter is a certain size and sits a certain way in your joint socket, your pelvic tilt is perfectly managed, tendon/ligament strength or recoil ability, Q-angle, ankle and hip mobility, flexibilty yet stability in the right areas, proper reciprocal inhibition, sufficient core strength…are you getting the picture here? It is “cool” but is it the best way to reach your goals in the safest, most efficient manner or are there far too many things that are getting in the way of you just getting a better butt, building metabolism boosting muscle, and pretty much being healthier and adding to your already jacked up levels of awesome?

If you want to have the goal to be able to squat A-T-G, wicked cool! By no means is there anything wrong with that, BUTT (<—- see what I did there lol) if you just want to make progress in terms of disease prevention, health, performance, aesthetics or otherwise, you do not NEED to do these to make great strides and in fact, incorporating some half squats aka hybrid deadlift/squat/goodmornings into your program might just be what you need to literally leap and power forward in your goals.

If you are looking for ways to mix up your training to develop more power and shape and you have beaten the regular squats into the ground but cannot safely go ATG, try the hybrid half squats between reps or your normal squats. For example, if you are doing 5 sets of 6-8 reps try this:

-First 2 reps are regular, slow and controlled, followed by 3 powerfully exerted half squats, followed by the remainder as regular slow and controlled reps.

The moral of the story is, kids don’t do drugs, friends don’t let friends wear puffy paint sweaters, and don’t try to fit square pegs into round holes. Seriously though, What I am trying to say here is that there are many ways to reach your goals. Try not to look at things so black or white and that you must do xyz or you will never get there. We are all different and just because a particular exercise or whatever else is not working for you, it does not mean there is anything wrong with you or that things are hopeless. Just keep plugging away to find your fit.

-To perform this hybrid half squat, if you are performing a high bar squat, lower the bar so it rests across your upper back. Create tension throughout your entire body,especially your butt and upper back and bracing your abs. With a slight bend in your knees, shoot your hips back so you are angled at about 45 degrees. On the way up, power your hips up and forward while being sure to catch a quarter in your butt cheeks at the top but not hyperextending your lower back. Basically, it is somewhat of a deadlift but with the bar on your back.

Also, if you would like to learn more about the benefits of “partial movements” or want to just check on if I am BS’ing you 😉 read more here: http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2014/11000/The_Efficacy_of_Incorporating_Partial_Squats_in.2.aspx

Training Playlist #46 aka Melisscious’ Delicious Discography

I realize that some of you may not appreciate the cleverosity (yes I STILL make up words 😉 ) of what Melisscious’ Delicious Discography means so I have added to the title. Exciting news huh…yes you now can leave the edge of your seat.

Since November is also known as Movember, I figure I will delight your earballs and eyedrums with a manly post, whatever that means (insert BS stereotype here :p). So here is your playlist and whatever you do, smashy smash it!  ;D

1. 50 Cent – Animal Ambition

2. Motionless in White – Creatures

3. Limp Bizkit feat Lil Wayne- Ready to Go

4. Korn – Wicked

5. Nailbomb – 24 hour Bullshit

6. Sepultera – Refuse Resist

7. Chimaira – Power Trip

8. Busta Rhymes – Gimme Some More

9. Swollen Members feat Nelly Furtado – Breathe

10. Everlast – What it’s Like

 

 

 

Nutrition, Body Composition and Health Demo Recap

This past Saturday I was a guest at Southside Muay Thai. Not only was EVERYONE there so helpful in getting me set up (yeah they even jumped to help me bring my stuff in from the car without my even asking…thank you so much!) and beyond encouraging, but the fact that I over went by almost 2 hours there says a lot about their interest and dedication to their goals.

I didn’t realize they had a pad class followed by an instructional type of class back to back on Saturday so I will definitely be coming out for that when time permits (that was a hard lesson to learn lol)! Pad work (and sparring) are 2 of my faves 🙂 . It was nice to meet many new people as well as some that I have only met through social media. It was even more of a blessing to have such a good turn out and reception by all.

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Aside from the giveaway and goodie bags, I also set up their own “packages” with their anthropometrics (body composition, height, weight, measurements etc) to help them see and get started on where they are. Information sheets and site links were also given as well as my dropping as many knowledge bombs as were inquired upon lol. That is one of my favourite things too. Doing what I can to educate and empower people, in many ways, excites the bejeez outta me and I look forward to the opportunities to come, which I will post about when completely solidified.

Again I wanted to thank Lebert Fitness, Supplement Source and Southside Muay Thai members and guests, for an exceptional experience.

 

p.s. re-branding and other things are coming so stay tuned 🙂

 

Macho Muscle, Mean People Suck aka Mental Health, Muay Thai and Me

I legit have not had the opportunity to sit and put something decent together in terms of a training, health, fitness article for you here so this is what you get for now, sorry!  Some random stuff I have been up to this month and have upcoming this month:

I have been a huge fan of Iron Radio and more so Dr. Lonnie Lowery and Phil Stevens for years now. We conversed a few times via the net but I finally got to meet Dr. Lowery and he was just as groovy and by groovy I mean he will blow your mind with his knowledge bombs AND his guns 😉

Anyhoo…I was asked to come on to the show and ramble (ok so that wasn’t exactly the projected outcome but Lonnie is aware of my gnat-like attention span so they managed me quite well). Here it is and be sure to subscribe to the cast, donate if you like to support all things awesome whaaaat and just enjoy the amazeballs that is their site:

NEXT UP…

This coming weekend, Saturday October 25th from 11am to 1pm I will be providing members and guests of Southside Muay Thai some info, goodies and the chance to win some Lebert Equalizers and Stretch Straps. Honestly these people are not only extremely skilled, they are good peeps so please come out to say hello, try some classes or just stare eerily in the windows in admiration…whatever works for you lol.

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and then we have the T.A.M.I. Summit happening November 6th from 8am to 3pm. I think it might be one of the biggest honours to be asked to be an ambassador for Kid’s Help Phone at this event and am beyond grateful that such an amazing group of people, such an incredible organization, would entrust upon me to be one of the ambassadors at this summit 🙂

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There are some other cool things on the horizon but for this month, this is enough I think. Hope to see you out!

The Future of Health and Fitness

I have such a love-hate relationship with how health and fitness has been going the past few years. I think it is ridiculously awesome that there are so many apps, gadgets and other scientific tools to help track, monitor and improve ourselves. Whether you are simply a busy exec trying to manage your stress levels to prevent a heart attack or aneurism :p, an athlete looking to improve performance, or just someone looking to look and feel optimal, there is officially an app for ALL of that! I think the only reason I hate this at all is simply because they can be darn pricey and can be hard to grasp for those less technically inclined.

Fit Bit– This is one of the currently most popular gadgets. There are different items that you can use to track and monitor your activity, sleep and eating behaviours. The most popular seems to be the wireless band and app download. The average price is $99.95 th

Healbe– This is a new and seemingly cool concept that was tweeted to me. It is still in the process of being fully launched so you can grab it before it really hits the market at $299.99. I am a little skeptical about this one as it’s FLOW technology seems a bit farfetched. You do need to know though that algorithms are not my forte so this just may be fully legit. I am not sure about paying that much without really knowing feedback but the concept is pretty cool. It says it measures calorie intake and output, hydration levels, stress, heart rate and sleep.

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Push – This is a device and app that I was introduced to. I have not yet had the privilege to fully experience it but I did get to mock trial it at their facility. This is a gadget geared towards lifting that measures reps, sets, tempo, power and so on. It seems to be one of the easier and definitely more accurate ways than many straight up apps you can download to your phone. You can currently pre-order it for $149 before it too hits the market.

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Polar– The Polar brand is one that I have used and trusted for a long ass time. I have typically gone for just the cheap-o basic model of HR measure as I did my own calculations. They have come out with some pretty cool features and no doubt to the validity and reliability of the applications and such as they have been doing this stuff for decades. You can now track the various training aspects related to heart rate and training zones, calories, training load and most importantly, recovery status (this is probably utilizing something along the lines of heart rate variability)

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There are hundreds of apps and gizmos out there and it can be so overwhelming. This is yet another reason that I both love-hate this (current) yet futuristic state of the health and fitness industry. I say just do a bit of your own research, ask around and find the best fun tool to help you with your goals. Be sure it has a warranty and technical support. Also be sure that it offers you just what you need and not too much as that can needlessly raise the price as well as your confusion.

Happy training ya’all and a woooooh 2 YOU!

PS If you want some help figuring out what is best for you hit me up below in the comments box 🙂

Quit Arguing

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If you are passionately involved in the health, fitness and performance field, which clearly you are if you are reading this, you no doubt have come across some argumentative aspects on various training modalities. I want to shed some light on two of the most popularly argued protocols/modalities. Thinking one is horrible or being best is not only absurd and a waste of energy, but it may be holding you and your clients back from progressing.

Let me first start with the popular “muscle confusion” form of training and Crossfit. I put these two together because many stake them with several commonalities, similarities that will prove my point of neither being “bad” per se as many will adamantly argue. First of all, Crossfit is a SPORT and secondly, along with the term muscle confusion, is a marketing term for a concept of pretty much “random activity” by definition of what has been accepted as majority. This does not mean that that is true because a lot of the coaches actually do have great ways of tracking and have methods to their “madness”. I will say this, neither concept was invented anytime recently as athletic forms of various training and cross training in general has been around for decades. So don’t argue that. The sport is new(er).

The somewhat randomness is not necessarily a bad thing if your goals are to simply lose some fat, gain some conditioning and if you are a newbie, potentially gain some lean mass. Or is you are advanced, you can get jacked too due to the high loads and volume. Is there a rhyme of reason for doing 30 snatches at high speed with no rest followed by kip-ups and 50 box jumps? No, unless you are training for the sport of Crossfit. That is where I believe people lose sight of things.  Is it bad to confuse your muscles each time you train with different movements and modalities like lifts with HIIT? No, absolutely not unless you are training for a particular sport and need to have the proper movement patterns and nervous system adaptations. Will your joints and nervous system pay for things later? Yeah probably but if you go in knowing that and are willing to stake that claim, that’s your decision. Live and let live.

There are actually some similarities between conjugate and contrast training as well as undulating periodization to these two highly ridiculed forms of training. In fact, the somewhat “randomness” of these types of activities can actually be more helpful to many who have hit  a fat loss plateau or have several years of training under their belts.  You must have a good coach as well as be gradually introduced to these methods but in terms of fat loss, efficiency is something you do not want and to become efficient, you must have repeat behaviors. You also want to keep these to shorter not longer and more frequent bouts unless it is solely your job to do this.

Next up is another two concepts that often has trainers or trainees confused or arguing. The debate of slow and moderate cardio versus balls to the walls HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio or HIRT (high intensity resistance training circuits) for goal attainment is one that I’m sure will not die anytime soon.  If you are looking for performance enhancement, fat loss and muscle retention, HIIT and HIRT seem to be the surefire winner. Does this mean that slow or moderate cardio should be demolished? Absolutely not. If you or your clients have joint issues, injuries or an already stressful lifestyle plus hit the weights with good intensity, further adding to the already high levels of stress with HIIT/HIRT can make them feel rundown, sick and even make them lose muscle and gain fat over time. Some people just cannot get the physiological response safely with certain types of activities.

Slow to moderate cardio work is a great tool for not only burning off some calories, because they DO ultimately count in terms of fat loss, but it also serves as a mental stimulator and a form of movement meditation for some, as well as it helping your clients to recover from their training. Neither form of cardio should be relied on solely or dismissed as they can greatly compliment each other.

There are so many methods of training, schools of thought that many will waste time arguing on. Having an open mind to various protocols and seeing them for what they are as well as the potential within the methods, will greatly enhance your ability to help your clients and yourself.  If you are looking to improve at a sport, you will want to become efficient in movements, neurological and physiological aspects, but if you are looking to just have some fun with training to be healthy, fit and maybe shed some fat, you will want to be inefficient.

While I firmly believe in getting the basics down first, I am not here to dictate to you my opinions on your best ways to achieve goals and outcomes. I am just here to shed some light and make you think for yourself in an industry so filled with those wanting to lessen critical thinking for their own agendas. The main thing is to prevent injuries and to help make people better in their lives. This means finding the methods and modalities your clients enjoy and respond well to even if it goes against what some may say.

When it comes down to it, you want to continually educate yourself on all sides of an argument in terms of training methods. Don’t fall into the trap that you need to have yourself or your clients doing it all because it is the hot thing right now. There are far too many factors involved and it is supposed to be about making people better at life isn’t it? (Again, we are talking non-sport specific as that is a whole other game).

You must also remember that these are your clients so who should really be dictating your goals, programs and outcomes? You and your client that’s who! Find the fit for them based on what their lives, needs and bodies can do and handle, yourself included. Do what makes you and/or your peeps happy, healthy and feeling good. Don’t tell them, educate them. Help lead them. To that there is not argument.

 

 

 

When Your Belly Fat Grows and Your Mind Blows, Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!

I don’t know about you but stress sucks. Wait, too much stress sucks. From creating sleep disturbances to overeating or just not utilizing food properly, poor workouts and recovery, depression, memory loss and fatigue, chronic stress is a killer.

Even if you are following a healthy eating plan and regularly exercising, too much stress can still damage your mind and body. There are many lifestyle factors (saying no, mindfulness or movement meditation, laughter, sex, lighter workouts, nutritious foods etc.) to reduce this killer in your life and those should be addressed first, but what if there were some other things to help you along?

Everything starts and ends with your brain and your nervous system. Physical stress or breakdown is nothing in comparison to mental burnout. Couple these two and you are in serious trouble. The thing is, if you prioritize the mind, the physical will follow. It may take years if you let it get too far so let’s nip things in the bud and call upon these additional stress busters.

Citicoline. This seems to be a promising supplement that may offer cognitive enhancing effects like memory retention, reduction of depressive symptoms and oxidative damage to the brain (1,2). Adding this to your lifestyle overhaul just might be worth trying.

L-Theanine. This is a no-brainer (lol pun intended) as this is not really a new discovery. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and has both calming effects on your body as well as protective effects on the brain (3,4).

Fruit and Veggie Supplements. There are many “greens” products out there and some really can make a difference. Yes, absolutely you want to eat a ton of produce but supplemental extracts just may be of benefit after all (5).

PUFA’S. This will be of no shock to you maybe but PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) like those found in fish oil, have great benefits to your brain and body’s responses to stress (6,7).

Summary

Every body is different and will respond differently to the above but if you are under chronic stress and want to try something additional to lifestyle modifications, you just might want to call on these stress busters.

PLEASE watch this:

 

References:

  1. Xiaonan, Y., Qiyi, M., & Nengrong, P. (2007). A control study of citicoline in the treatemnt of dysmnesia due to MECT [J]. Journal of Clinical Psychosomatic Diseases, 4, 009.
  2. Hatcher, J. F., & Dempsey, R. J. (2002). Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia. Journal of neurochemistry, 80(1), 12-23.
  3. Juneja, L. R., Chu, D. C., Okubo, T., Nagato, Y., & Yokogoshi, H. (1999). L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 10(6), 199-204.
  4. Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological psychology, 74(1), 39-45.
  5. Joseph, J. A., Shukitt-Hale, B., Denisova, N. A., Bielinski, D., Martin, A., McEwen, J. J., & Bickford, P. C. (1999). Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 19(18), 8114-8121.
  6. Ferraz, A. C., Delattre, A. M., Almendra, R. G., Sonagli, M., Borges, C., Araujo, P., … & Lima, M. (2011). Chronic ω-3 fatty acids supplementation promotes beneficial effects on anxiety, cognitive and depressive-like behaviors in rats subjected to a restraint stress protocol. Behavioural brain research, 219(1), 116-122.
  7. Ochoa, J. J., Quiles, J. L., Huertas, J. R., & Mataix, J. (2005). Coenzyme Q10 protects from aging-related oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial function in heart of rats fed a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-rich diet. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(8), 970-975

Free Music and MOVEment

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I am spending most of my day today working from home and am currently updating my playlist. Home work is great because my breaks can consist of whatever the eff I want such as random outbursts of loud music and flailing myself around the room. Yeah I know right, good times 😉 I just got back in after doing some running around and was chatting it up with this super cool guy.

Why am I telling you this? I tell you this because our conversation consisted of discussing music and movement of all kinds. Ok the majority of the movement we pigeonholed on was in regards to lifting but REAL movement like martial arts/combat sports and dancing came up too. FYI those are four of my favorite things with the 5th being something I plead the 5th on (yup it is totally what you are thinking of womp wommmmp).

Oh geez sorry I still have yet to get to the point of this random post and the title’s correlation to the randomness ramblings at hand. I just wasted your time to lead up to this little gifty-gift for you…this dude hooked me up with a free way to get tunes for when you are doing MOVEment (bowel or orchestral not presumptively included lol). I apologize to the artists out there, I really do and this is not meant to be a form of disrespect for your craft but I like to share things that make me happy to help others be happy too. I have also learned from one Will-I-am that that is not how you make your moolah anyhoo 😉

To get some tunes use this site http://www.youtube-mp3.org/ . You find the jam on youtube, copy the link and paste it in the box. You than convert it, download the mp3 and copy it to your Ipod, android or other device. Magical ain’t it 😉

I can survive without music sure, but I cannot thrive nor truly LIVE without it. Still just doing what I can in terms of my loves (MRI comes soon and will give me some answers. This damn ankle and foot thing is yet to be determined than watch out lol) If you are like me and feel the same way, try this out and get your swerve on my beautiful freaks geeks and weirdos ;D Woooooh to you!

Rooftop Fitness Party in Downtown Toronto

This morning brought out an exciting array of fellow fitness instructors, yogis, studio/gym owners and fitness enthusiasts to a party atop the Big Carrot . This fun filled, health promoting event was for the media launch of Tryfit.ca . Before I continue I would like to thank Jake for having me out. It was an exceptional way to start my day. I had to leave early to teach a class but the time I was there was awesome.

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Aside from the banging beats from the DJ, the snacks and spa water quenching my thirst for some awe-inspiring oh yeah-ness, every one there was so friendly. It is always great to see a community of like-minded positive people in one place.

The day was gorgeous (aka sunny and hot wooooh) and the rooftop venue made the mini-workout sessions that were a part of the event much more enjoyable. The ability to network and to share stories was also a highlight. While there was fun to be had, it was all very professional and well organized by all.

I love what Tryfit.ca is doing. There are so many great spots in Toronto and so many different styles, modalities and venues that it is a shame NOT to experience as many of them as you can. The fact that they are also helping to grow and promote good people trying to make a difference, makes me love this concept even more. By offering what they are, they are not only helping to grow the smaller businesses in the community, but they are also helping others to find their fit when it comes to fitness.

Thank you for what you do!

 

P.S. I am totally for hire for teaching classes, events, consulting, event coverage, writing…;) athletictraynor@gmail.com